# Thread: Economists suggests airlines start charging for our weight

1. ## Economists suggests airlines start charging for our weight

Airline fares: Pay according to your weight?

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea?

2. I think this is the way forward it makes sense on a logical level - there is a clear correlation between the amount of weight in a plane and the fuel cost to get it in the air, and because its so clear cut there is no reason to get offended by it.
Ethically it is more of a grey area and there will be people upset by the suggestion but this is the case with a lot of disputes, there isnt a solution to please 100% of the people.
Airlines have been mulling this over for years, likely nothing will come of it, it would be a bold move for a single air company to make for fear of becoming unpopular with the public and losing business to the other companies.
If they did decide to put in place though I would understand - Its just simple mathematics.

3. People will claim it's unfair or discriminatory, but the plain fact of the matter is if you weigh more you need more fuel to carry. I can't see anybody actually implementing it though, for a start you'd presumably have to individually weigh every passenger at check in, otherwise a system of people providing their own weights is open to abuse.

What I find unfair is that if my luggage is 1 kg over the limit I get charged a ridiculous levy, but it completely ignores the fact I'm at least 10 kg lighter than the average person. In fact, there are a significant amount of people on the plane who will weigh more by themselves than me and my luggage put together!

4. ## Re: Economists suggests airlines start charging for our weight

The people who run airlines must want to run out of business. They see a decrease in business because of stupid fees that are meant to make a gimmick buck for them.
Then they start getting less business and the flights are emptier and they need to make money to keep the business operating...hmmmm....lets charge people by the pound...hmmm...stupid people I tell ya...

When are they gonna start building bullet trains in the US? It seems like it would be a more greener, economical way to travel throughout the country.

5. I don't see that working very well in the long run.

6. In theory, I like this. If I bring an extra 150 pounds of luggage beyond my carry-on and personal item, I get charged for them. Why should someone else get to bring 150 pounds of body weight more than me for free? Both require the plane use the same amount of extra fuel.

In reality, this will just mean that ticket prices stay the same for skinny people and get higher for fat people. I don't see this as making the system more fair, just increasing the airline's profit margin. So no, I can't get behind such a program.

I'm fully behind making large people buy a second seat.

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Originally Posted by MeTaLMaNN1983
The people who run airlines must want to run out of business. They see a decrease in business because of stupid fees that are meant to make a gimmick buck for them.
Then they start getting less business and the flights are emptier and they need to make money to keep the business operating...hmmmm....lets charge people by the pound...hmmm...stupid people I tell ya...

When are they gonna start building bullet trains in the US? It seems like it would be a more greener, economical way to travel throughout the country.
Less versatile. If an airline figures out that its Trenton NJ to Wichita KS line was a stupid idea, it can stop selling tickets and the only losses are the cost to lease facilities at the Trenton and Wichita airports. What happens when Amtrak discovers that its Trenton to Wichita bullet train is a flop? A line like that would probably cost hundreds of millions for the land rights alone. Then environmental impact studies, construction including a ton of bridges and getting past the Apps, so on and so forth.

Of course, your answer could be just to choose a route that makes more sense- say, New York City to Los Angeles. If you want to do that, you're going to spend at least half a trillion dollars. That line would take decades to build and more decades more to turn profitable even under the rosiest of conditions*. Good luck finding investors for that money pit- no one in their right mind will invest money in an infrastructure project that will never realistically generate a profit in their lifetime. Not to mention you'll need to beat the airlines in price because you sure as hell won't beat them in convenience. Getting from NY to LA by air takes about 8-10 hours from the time you leave your front door. A bullet train would take at least 24 hours. I'm not rich. Getting groped by the TSA is worth saving half a day and a few hundred dollars, IMO.

Now your answer to that could be to just do bullet trains along regional lines- say, NY to Boston. In these areas the land rights are already owned; you'd just need to update the infrastructure and buy new trains. And, that's actually already happening.

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*The NE Corridor upgrades will cost \$150B in 2010 dollars and will take 30 years to build. For a NY-LA line, multiply these numbers by 3-5 (distance extrapolation).

7. I don't see a problem. If a post a package I get charged according to its dimensions and weight. If I'm the package, why should that be any different? Anyway, if someone can afford to eat enough food to be overweight, they can probably afford a few extra quid on an airline ticket.

But... I wonder what the realistic cost differences are. I weigh 70kg, so someone who weighs 140kg should maybe pay a bit more... but... how much difference would 70kg make given the weight of the aircraft and everyone else. Even if you were huge, you probably only account for a tiny bit more fuel used. The biggest costs are probably fixed. A fat person needs the same number of customer service staff and gets allocated the same space on the plane.

So, if anything, I suspect that airlines are just looking to squeeze more profit by overcharging fat people. I mean... are they really considering a discount for thin people so that they make exactly the same profit as before? Unlikely! I reckon they're just putting this in the news to see how popular it is. If there's widespread approval of the idea, the airlines have a nice easy way of increasing their profits with the overall consent of passengers!

8. ## Re: Economists suggests airlines start charging for our weight

The problem is that the economists know nothing about marketing. The idea of charging by weight fails when you think about the implementation. In order to be fair, all customers (passengers) will have to be weighed - just like the luggage. How many people will put up with that? It also means that there will be a base price for a ticket to somewhere, plus an adder fee for the passenger weight. OK, what do you call that adder fee? No matter what the name is, somebody will be offended.

As one who flies for business almost weekly I appreciate having my ticket all paid for in advance. I just go through the security lines, and wait at my gate. If I have to stop and have myself weighed for a "big a55 fee" (by whatever name the airlines choose to call it) and then pay an extra fee, that would be quite inconvenient, as well as an accounting nightmare. Would my employer reimburse me for this or not? Either way, it's a real mess.

9. I agree to the mathematical logic, however on a marketing/service level not so much...

The difference perhaps from sending parcels, by both weight and dimension...is there is no humane-factor to these inanimate objects...also, if never opened/altered...the parcels won't vary in their size or shape, or weight.

...if we were to divide the total cargo/passenger, and fuel weight by the number of passengers/tickets....it's quite conceivable, that a number of planes per fleet; may be running in the 'red', or even 'black' speaking in terms of profits.

Collectively, 'we' need to pay in enough to keep the airlines running...and most will not do this without a profit.

There are potentially any number of hidden (to the consumer) costs, which may make it appear to be over-inflated charges...and of course, there may well be 'padded' charges too...I think that it should remain mostly as it is now...

he only charge-by-weight scenario I can see happening, is much like with the baggage...over a certain 'standard' for both weight, and dimension...will incur additional charges...such as...if you occupy more than one seat, and/or you exceed say 210lbs/95kg...

10. Originally Posted by AEsahaettr
Now your answer to that could be to just do bullet trains along regional lines- say, NY to Boston. In these areas the land rights are already owned; you'd just need to update the infrastructure and buy new trains. And, that's actually already happening.
If they can do regionals, why not (outside of monetary concerns) other lines as well? They already have 4 West to Midwest lines (San Francisco to Chicago, two from L.A. to Chicago (one goes through Texas, the other through the Southwest, and one from Portland/Seattle to Chicago). Plus a L.A. to New Orleans line, and there east to midwest/south lines. Shouldn't they thus have the land rights for those as well? Or am I wrong/missing something?

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